Support and learning

We will give you practical support, along with the trust and flexibility you need to focus on the job of providing quality care, love, and a sense of belonging to the child or children and young people you care for.

Your team

You'll work with:

  • the child's social worker – This is the person you'll deal with most often. Talk to them about anything to do with the child and their needs.
  • a caregiver social worker They’re here to support you. Talk to them about money, training, or anything you need to know.
  • other professionals They might be teachers, doctors and counsellors, youth workers, or people working for NGOs or in the community.
  • the child’s family or whānau Supporting the child or young person to stay connected with these people is a big part of caregiving.
  • your own family and whānau Your own family and whānau play a huge role in making the child or young person feel welcome and loved, so it’s important they’re part of making decisions about providing care.

Caregiver Support Line

Having someone to talk to about the challenges you’re facing as a caregiver can make all the difference. That’s why we have a Caregiver Support Line - 0508 CARERS (0508 227 377).

When you call 0508 CARERS you’ll be put through to your regular caregiver social worker. If they’re not available, another member of the Caregiver Recruitment and Support Team in your region will respond and make sure you get the support you need.

You can also call the line after hours for urgent support.

The phone line is available nationwide.

Support groups

We run local support groups, where you'll be able to get together with other caregivers to share your experiences and talk with others who understand the challenges and rewards of caregiving. To find the support groups near you, talk to your caregiver social worker.

Other support groups you could find useful include: 

Caring Families Aotearoa

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

The Permanent Caregiver Support Service is available for a number of permanent caregivers. Find out if you're eligible by going to their website:

The Permanent Caregiver Support Service


New national care standards

The National Care Standards came into effect on 1 July 2019. They set out the standard of care every child and young person needs to be well and do well, and the support caregivers can expect to receive when you open up your heart and home.

Read more about the care standards  

The National Caregiver Training Programme

The National Caregiver Training Programme is a partnership between Oranga Tamariki and Caring Families Aotearoa. It gives caregivers the opportunity to explore concepts, share experiences, reflect and take away ideas of how you can practically apply your learning. 

View the workshop schedule and register

Access to counselling support and advice

From 1 July 2020, all Oranga Tamariki caregivers can access the Caregiver Assistance Programme.

This means you’re entitled to free, confidential counselling and advice from trained counsellors through a trusted provider called Benestar.

You can use the Caregiver Assistance Programme to get support in your role as a caregiver, or for personal issues. Support is available face-to-face, over the phone, or via email or video.

You can self-refer for up to three free sessions every year, and more can be arranged if you need them. If the child in your care needs counselling support, this can still be arranged through their social worker.

You can access this service by calling 0800 360 364 and letting them know you are an Oranga Tamariki caregiver. They’ll then set up an appointment for you.

If you any questions please contact your caregiver social worker for a confidential chat.

How to access health and education services

The Hand in Hand Book for caregivers brings together information about universal health and education services. It’s structured around the age of the child – from birth to 18 years, and can be used as a type of checklist, so children and young people in care have access to all the services they’re entitled to. 

It covers things like how to enrol with a family doctor, when immunisations are due, and how to enrol in education, from early learning services through to secondary school. It also has information about specialist support services.

Published: March 27, 2017 · Updated: September 29, 2020